The normal anatomy of our head starts with the hair and scalp on the outside, the bony skull below, and then the brain on the inside. Between the skull and the brain there is a thin layer, called the dura. The dura acts like a bag that encases and protects the brain.
A meningioma is a tumor that forms from the dura. This tumor begins outside of the brain itself, but as the tumor grows it can push on the brain. The symptoms of a meningioma can vary, depending on the function of the part of the brain on which it is pushing.
Small meningiomas may not cause any symptoms. We usually find these tumors when scanning the brain for another reason, such as after a car accident or for chronic headaches. These tumors can be followed with further imaging over time. Sometimes we can treat these tumors with Gamma Knife radiosurgery, which can stop these lesions from growing and may sometimes shrink them.
Larger meningiomas that are significantly pushing on the brain likely need to be removed. This is done through a small incision and window in the bone. The meningioma and its attachment to the dura is then cut out, and the incision is closed.
The good news is that meningiomas are usually benign, which means that they are not cancer. If the meningioma and the attachment to the dura is completely removed, then the patient is cured.
If you are diagnosed with a meningioma, it is in your best interest to see a neurosurgeon familiar with these lesions who can aim for complete resection and cure whenever possible. Dr. Arias has extensive experience with meningiomas, performing countless surgeries and Gamma Knife treatments every year. Below are some before and after pictures from recent surgeries he has performed resulting in successful, complete resection of these tumors.